THINK BIGGER THAN a crock of nasturtiums this year. “Potted trees can be magical,” said Andrew Pascoe, a floral designer in Oyster Bay, N.Y. “You can create privacy on a roof terrace. You can use two to flank a front door. A row of them is an instant hedge.”
Choose a tree that typically attains a height of no more than 10 feet, and pamper it in every season, said Mr. Pascoe, who grew up in England’s mild climate, where potted plants commonly become permanent landscape features. “In spring and summer, trees will exhaust the food supply in the soil of a pot quite quickly, so feed them well with fertilizer, and water them daily,” he said. In winter, move pots out of danger of harsh winds and wrap them in burlap to protect roots from freeze-thaw fluctuations. Paired with the proper planter, a tree can become a living sculpture to artfully transform your garden year-round. Mr. Pascoe matches petite trees with new-to-market planters to make the most of both.
MODERN FAIRY TALE
“There’s something very Gothic about the design of this planter” with its repeating pattern of pointed arches, said Mr. Pascoe. Pairing it with the frothy, very pale flowers of a miniature Cinderella crabapple tree would create “a classic blue-and-white palette—my favorite,” he said, adding that the planter’s sleek, aluminum surface updates the look. With long, slender branches that reach up and out like thin, curving fingers, Malus x ‘Cinzam’ “still looks enchanting in the winter when it has no foliage,” he said. Oomph Ocean Drive Outdoor Planter in blue, from $1,575, chairish.com
“This is a very traditional metal planter, with its little feet and the rings on its sides, and would look lovely if you paired it with the formal shape of a holly trained as a topiary,” Mr. Pascoe said. Ilex ‘Castle Spire’ can be clipped to encourage it to spiral upward as it grows, like an evergreen church steeple. “For symmetry, I’d like to see two flanking an entryway.” In summer, its glossy leaves provide a deep green, and in winter, brilliant red berries. Aged Grey Square Planter by the Vintage Gardener, from about $190, societyhouse.co.uk
BEAUTY AND THE BRUTE
For this plump, fluted container cast from a mix of crushed marble, rock and resin, Mr. Pascoe chose Prunus ‘The Bride,’ a flowering cherry tree with bouquet-worthy blossoms. “The shape of the pot reminds me of the shape of its delicate petals. Plus, the rough texture will play nicely against the pretty flowers when [the tree] blooms in spring.” He recommends fertilizing the tiny tree in spring and judiciously pruning its crown to maintain a rounded, nosegay silhouette even when branches are bare in winter. Petal Garden Planter, from $650, pennoyernewman.com